Thursday, April 1, 2021

Why a Writer Needs Healthy Writing Habits

by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Writer, Get Out of Your Chair!

Wait? What? That’s not right, is it?

This is a site for writers. Writers write. 

BICHOK, right? (That’s Butt in Chair Hands on Keyboard). 


Oh, this must be an April Fool’s Joke, right?




Let me tell you a little story. We’ll pretend it’s hypothetical but between you and me it is 100% true.


Once upon a time there was a writer on a deadline. This writer wasn’t just on a deadline. She was behind on the deadline. So she wrote. And wrote. And wrote more. She wrote all.the.time for about six weeks. 


Her deadline was still two weeks away when on a Sunday morning she woke after significantly fewer hours of sleep than she needed. She dragged herself through her morning routine as she prepared to go to church. She pulled out the hair dryer.


And then…she couldn’t move her neck.


Y’all, she injured her neck while drying her hair. (She still says she won’t tell anyone how she did it, so, um, if you could keep this between us, that would be great, m’kay? Thanks.)


Anyway, she thought it would be okay if she took some Advil and maybe iced it. Because, really, who messes themselves up drying their hair? 


Um, turns out, you can injure yourself drying your hair. Two days later, she was calling her physical therapist to see if he could work her in because our writer friend was in a world of hurt and remember that deadline? Yeah. It was going anywhere. 


When she saw the physical therapist, he shook his head, disappointment filling his eyes. His “What did you do?” came with a hefty dose of, “I told you this would happen” and a lot of “didn’t we talk about this?”


The sad truth was, that she had no defense! Because her PT had told her. Repeatedly. See, she had injured herself a year earlier. Her ankle was all messed up, but it turned out that the problem originated much higher. And all this time, while he was working on her leg, he’d been telling her that she really needed to take better care of herself. She needed to get out of her chair. She needed to stretch. 


The thing is, she agreed with him. Believed him. Had no doubt that he was right, but when she sat down, she was so focused on the writing, she forgot. 


It turned out that all that writing had led to her chest muscles getting so tight that eventually something as simple as drying her hair had been the final straw and her first rib decided it didn’t want to behave. (Side note: She had no idea her rib cage started so high up, just below the collar bone, and is still hoping to find a way to use this in a book somewhere because everything is story fodder, right?)


Turns out that the first rib wasn’t where it was supposed to be and since it wraps around to the base of the neck, it had messed me, um, I mean, this writer we’re talking about, all up. 


The story has a happy ending. Several physical therapy sessions and a massage later, she was back to normal (well, as normal as she ever is), and she hopes she’s a bit wiser than she used to be. 


The moral of the story?


Writer, get out of your chair. Set your timer and stretch. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV so I’m not giving you specifics. You’re a writer. Research it. Look at some YouTube videos, read some blog posts. There are a ton out there. 


But for the love of not missing a deadline, get your rear out of your chair. Stretch your neck, your shoulders, and open up those chest muscles. Give your back twists and turns, and don’t forget that the largest muscle you have is your gluteus maximus and you’re just sitting on it. It needs to move unless you want it to cause you a world of hurt in your hips, quads, hamstrings, knees, calves, and…you guessed it (or maybe you didn’t, but it’s true), ankles.


There’s nothing wrong with BICHOK as long as every thirty minutes to an hour you make sure you add in some BUTS (that’s Butt Up To Stretch - I just made that up, but I mean, if you want it to go viral I’ll be okay with it). 


Trust me, I mean, trust this poor writer friend of mine. 

The more you make sure the BUTS happen, the more you’ll be able to spend time BICHOK. 

Grace and peace,

Why a Writer Needs Healthy Writing Habits - @LynnHBlackburn on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Lynn’s titles have won the Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award. Her newest series kicks off in March 2021 with Unknown Threat, Book 1 in the Defend and Protect series. 

She is a frequent conference speaker and has taught writers all over the country. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after by signing up for her newsletter at LYNNHBLACKBURN.COM and @LynnHBlackburn on BOOKBUBFACEBOOKTWITTERPINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM


  1. Oh wow, that's the best way I have ever heard to get someone to exercise. Even a little bit. Just a walk or two or something. Okay, I'll do it. And I'll be careful next time I dry my hair!

    1. :) Definitely treat all hair dryers with caution! :)

  2. I need this message today. Very busy writing. Thank you Lynn.

  3. Lynn, your writing style is delightful. And, um, I needed this advice. Thanks for telling us what we need to hear, even when we think we're the exception.

  4. And the older we get, the more important stretching is. 2020 showed me that. Instead of being in the theatre for half my day every day, I did nothing but write. I wrote 2 1/2 books (we're talking 90K books) in 9 months, where normally I wrote ONE in 9 months. A year later, I'm learning I should have taken more time to stretch. No injuries, just stiffening of joints, etc. Good advice, my friend!

    1. Thank you, Ane! It's been a tough thing to learn, er, um, for my friend to learn...LOL!

  5. Loved your very personal touch to this blog. Exercise can clear the mind and keep you going with your writing. Thank you for sharing. I always learn from these writings.

  6. Thanks for helping us through your experience - hope you feel better & better. :)

    1. Oh, well, um, I'll be sure to pass that along to my friend. {cough, cough, wink, wink} Thank!! :)

  7. I love this reminder, Lynn. I writer I know (wink, wink) learned this lesson the hard way.

    1. Yes, it's so hard to, er, well, you know, watch our "friends" suffer...LOL!

  8. I'm notoriously bad about taking care of myself while I'm writing--which is any time I'm not doing anything else. I needed this!


  9. Thanks for this post about taking care of ourselves!